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Oct 1, 2019

Still No Statement from Final Witness for William “Danny” Mason

The murder trial of William “Danny” Mason and four other accused men continued to face a hitch today in the Belmopan Supreme Court. That is because the court has been unable to get a statement from one of the last witnesses for the defense. The witness, Tim Reid, was employed by the U.S. Embassy at the time of the murder, but has since moved from Belize and getting his statement has taken time.  Mason and the accused men in the beheading of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas in 2016 were escorted to the court of Justice Antoinette Moore this morning in handcuffs. The D.P.P.’s office considers that the murder was a joint enterprise between the accused men and is seeking the court to make a determination on this ground.  Here is Dalila Ical with report.


Dalila Ical, Reporting

William “Danny Mason” and his associates Terence Fernandez, Keiron Fernandez, Ernest Castillo and Ashton Vanegas were back in the Belmopan Supreme Court this morning. The men stand accused of the beheading of Dangriga Pastor Llewellyn Lucas in July of 2016. But as their trial nears closure, it faces a hitch as the defense is still unable to obtain a statement from its last witness, Tim Reid, an employee of the US Embassy, who is not in the country.  A little over two weeks ago, the trial was adjourned and Justice Antoinette Moore and the court have been assisting the defense to obtain this statement.


Norman Rodriguez

Norman Rodriguez, Defense Attorney

“I don’t think the court has a difficulty because the court is resolving it by deciding whether it is going to grant the time or not, using its discretion. The witness, they are working on trying to get the statement from the witness but you know there are certain protocols that in any area you try to resolve things you have certain protocols you have to deal with and in this case, it’s a short adjournment. We should be able to be back here by Thursday. There is only like one short process left before they can get the statement from the witness and then we will proceed to the closings.”


So while that statement did not make it in today’s hearing, Justice Antoinette Moore presided over an “issues conference”, hearing pieces of evidence from the trial that both sides feel are central for the verdict against the defendants.


Norman Rodriguez

“It is very important and for me it was a first Issues Conference. We are given the opportunity, along with our clients to decide what issues we would like to have the court direct its mind to when considering the evidence that has been brought or put before it. Different attorneys had different issues but you had some overlapping, one of them having to do with one of the witnesses who came to give evidence that may have been seen as conflicting or inconsistent with another witness. Things like this will happen in any trial you know. I mean, one witness will say something, the other might say something a little differently and the attorneys will use it as an opportunity to have the court rule in favour of their clients.”



“Sir now in a jury trial an issues conference, the issues are presented to the jury. In this case we have a judge trial, a judge only trial, how does the judge handle these issues presented to her in this case?”


Llewellyn Lucas

Norman Rodriguez

 “You know a judge is trained in the law and judges with this kind of experience that this judge has and the knowledge will find that they are able to apply their minds, the judges will be able to apply their minds to the facts and the law so that whatever decision is given, is given justly.”

Other issues raised by the defense counsels include cross contamination of evidence collected by investigators and whether any of the defendants were clearly identified in the surveillance footage. They also asked the court to consider whether or not the prosecution successfully proved that some of the defendants are guilty by a joint enterprise, meaning that the four co-accused knowingly assisted in the murder of Pastor Lucas. For her part, Director of Public Prosecution Cheryl-Lynn Vidal raised the issue of surveillance footage, the DNA evidence presented in the case and she also asked the court to consider how it will treat the circumstantial evidence against each of the defendants. The D.P.P. also asked the court to consider how it will treat the issue of joint enterprise since the prosecution’s case is based on the premise that all defendants played a role in the murder of Pastor Lucas. The case resumes on Thursday afternoon. However, if the court and the defense are able to obtain the last witness’ statement, the case will continue on Wednesday. Reporting for News Five, I am Dalila Ical.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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